Let me preface this by saying that I believe social media to be one of the best venues available for promoting and marketing my contracting business. I enjoy the back-and-forth exchanges it creates and appreciate the opportunity it provides for honest communication with my past, present and future clients and colleagues.
That being said, I have to admit that occasionally I just don't have time to keep up with my Twitter posts, Facebook updates and blogs the way I would like. It's my busy season right now and I'm working with many Brooklyn real estate agencies to complete work on several houses at once. In fact, I haven’t even gotten around to setting up my FB business page! So, when my schedule is full and deadlines are approaching I rely on social media automation to keep my clients in the loop.
Social media automation is a lifesaver on occasion. I can write several Wordpress blog posts on a Sunday night and schedule them to appear throughout the week. My status updates can be set to post throughout the day or even at night. Social automation saves me a ton of time without sacrificing the frequency of my posts.
Automation also increases the number of clients I can reach at a single time. This is New York, after all; not everyone has a 9-5 job. By setting updates to post at midnight, I can reach swing shift factory workers just sitting down to dinner. By publishing a blog post at 4 a.m. my posts can be seen by the Metro drivers having their morning coffee. Since I'm not awake at these times, automation does the job for me.
I learned early on in my social media experiments that the more I post, the more recognizable I am. People began to recognize my name and the name of my company. Social media automation has me well on my way to being a well-known East Hampton, NY contractor.
For all the good that comes from social automation, there are drawbacks as well. I often regret my lack of participation. Yes, I wrote the blog posts that appear throughout the day. However, I may have written them last night, last Tuesday or last April. They do not always reflect my current views. This feels somehow disingenuous.
Tweets in particular give me pause. A scheduled Twitter update will include a footnote, usually something along the lines of "via HootSuite", a popular Twitter automation tool. This shows my followers that it is a scheduled Tweet rather than a spontaneous diatribe from the recesses of my own mind. The implied lack of a personal touch bothers me.
For larger businesses, this can be extremely evident for followers, which is why they should always have an in-house expert, or perhaps a consulting firm to manage their own accounts. Simply put, you must have a voice in your industry, even when it comes to social – A robotic automation mechanism may not be the best route for this.
I have thought long and hard about social media automation and have come to the conclusion that it is an incredibly useful tool when used sparingly. I will, of course, still take every opportunity to speak directly to my clients. However, when work and timing make that impossible, I will continue to use social media automation in an effort to reach out to everyone. Automated content is better than no content at all.
About the author
Sam Marquit (http://fmarquitv.tumblr.com) is a entrepreneur, home improvement specialist, and part time blogger. Fee free to visit Sam's blog, and don't forget to connect with him @fmarquitv